Half Dome Permit Lottery 2015

Apply for Half Dome Permits March 1-31, 2015 
By John P. DeGrazio 
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YExplore Half Dome Summit Club by John P. DeGrazio

Today is the first day to apply for the Half Dome permit lottery which will run from 12am PST on March 1 to 11:59pm PDT on March 31. If you are planning on hiking to the summit of Half Dome on any day from May 22 to October 13, 2015, you will be required to obtain a permit to access the Sub Dome and cable portions of the Half Dome trail. Rangers will be stationed to check for permits, and you will be turned away if you do not have one. All permit applications are handled by Recreation.gov and can be made online or over the phone. The Yosemite National Park official website has more details about the process including a secondary daily lottery (48 hours prior to your selected date) for those who were shut out of the preseason lottery.

YExplore offers guided Half Dome hikes that give you an opportunity to attempt the 8842′ Summit in a day with the most experienced Yosemite guide service who consistently receives the highest ratings on Yelp and Tripadvisor. We break down the hike into manageable sections to help you focus on your goal. We will safely guide your group and give you the best possible chance for success while you learn about the area’s geology and natural history. We will also photograph the highlights of your trip with professional quality images and share them with you at the end of your adventure.

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Group Outings in Yosemite National Park

If you choose our services we will develop a strategy for applying for permits with you that may potentially increase your chances of success. Once your booking is confirmed, we will help you create a training routine and check in with you from time to time to monitor your progress. On the day of the hike, we will provide added safety equipment including reliable gloves and safety belts. From the beginning, our guides will help you confidently approach this hike by offering a profile of the terrain, setting designated rest stops, and coaching you to add confidence when you need it most. If you reach the summit with us, you’ll also earn a highly coveted YExplore Half Dome Summit Club patch of your very own.

Your safety is our number one priority, and we want you to be safe on this hike whether you choose our services or not. Please watch this safety video about the Sub Dome and Half Dome cables.

 We will also offer an excellent alternative to Half Dome in the event you do not receive a permit but would like to experience the Yosemite Wilderness on a less popular but no less scenic trail. 

Good luck to everyone, and try to remember these immortal words of Dr. Seuss on your summit day.

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Dr. Seuss On the Half Dome Cables by John P. DeGrazio

Another Half Dome Ascent on Youtube

A Winter Celebration on Yosemite Valley’s Highest Peak 
By John P. DeGrazio 

Lasting friendships are built through wilderness adventures. Last week I hiked to the top of Half Dome with a group of three other friends. Some in our group had never met which always makes for fun times of sharing many great stories and lots of food.  Pat supplied us with a 10 pound bag of trail mix along the way.

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Lasting friendships are made through shared adventures by John P. DeGrazio

It was David’s Birthday so he brought the birthday cake that we devoured atop the rock, and I shared some Belgian chocolate in honor of our winter achievement. Casey shared her brilliant charm. You owe us on the next one, Casey.

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David has his birthday cake on Half Dome and eats it too by John P. DeGrazio

The day started slightly later than anticipated as we were supposed to pick up Casey at the parking lot near the Foresta turnoff. We pulled up and saw her car but no Casey. She was walking on the Big Oak Flat Rd toward the Valley looking like someone who had missed her ride. Perhaps her expectations were low since the previous week was the first time we met, and we were running about ten minutes late due to my faulty time calculations. She hopped in, and we were on our way.

The hike began in warm morning light with above average February temperatures. By the time we reached the waterfalls, we were stripped down to our t-shirts. Once we reached the saddle at Sub Dome, the winds picked up and the fun began. I am barely audible in the video above, but the gusts fortunately subsided as we climbed the cables.

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#selfieincrimination #halfdome

We shared in our usual revelry on top of Half Dome and were excited because we thought we were the last group to summit before the storm. Another solo hiker had come down shortly before we approached Sub Dome. To our surprise, there were three others sliding up the cables on our descent. We were slightly disappointed with this traffic jam, but we got over it in a hurry. The rest of our day was filled with laughter and trash.

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Pat Photographs Casey in the King’s Chair by John P. DeGrazio

We kept ourselves entertained on the previous week’s hike by counting Casey’s riches along the Old Coulterville Road. The cents added up as she accumulated cans and bottles on our hike. This time, it was my turn as we found several odd trail treasures that I kept stuffing in my pack. Two items really stood out. I found an old chewed up glove between two granite boulders. Marmots love salt and will eat anything covered in sweat. That is one reason it’s important not to leave any gloves at the base of the cables. We are always happy to oblige the Yosemite rangers when they ask us to help haul away this pile of trash.

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Don’t join the littering club in Yosemite by John P. DeGrazio

The second item really angered our group because three of us are climbers, and we found a golf club at the true summit. Why would someone bring a golf club to the top of Half Dome? To hit a golf ball, of course. This is about the worst idea possible as a way to celebrate your accomplishment. Besides endangering any animal down below Half Dome in the area of Mirror Lake, launching these projectiles from nearly 5000 feet above the Valley can also cause potential death to any climbers below, especially if the golfer suffers from the shanks. So if that’s your Callaway 8 iron that I found, please don’t make such a reckless mistake in the future.

We were each a bit sad to part ways. Our sorrow was tempered by promises of future adventures together and some fine dining.  Pat and I carpooled back to Sonora and stopped in at Emberz for an exceptional meal. I couldn’t resist the Philly Cheesesteak. Next stop, Hetch Hetchy. Until then, remember this wonderful quote from Theodor Seuss Geisel.

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Dr. Seuss On the Half Dome Cables by John P. DeGrazio